8 Reasons Why Your Acne Products Are Not Working

Beauty | Skincare

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Are you frustrated because you’ve tried every acne product under the sun and still have acne? The truth is, you can try every product out there that claims to treat acne and still have breakouts. So what gives?

If you’ve tried numerous cleansers, serums, masks, treatments and have seen no improvement, chances are it’s because of one of these reasons.

So, let’s dig in and find out why your acne regimen might not be working.

1. Your Products Are Too Drying

Acne treatments dry out the skin, which can lead to more breakouts! Acne fighting ingredients like sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, retinol and salicylic acid are drying on their own. Plus, many time they are poorly formulated with other ingredients like sulfates, menthol and alcohol that dry your skin out even more.

When fighting acne, it’s important to look at well-formulated and gentle products.

Most people think that when it comes to acne, the stronger the better, and that is NOT the case.

Try switching to a simple, gentler skincare routine, with a non-medicated GENTLE cleanser, treatment and moisturizer. You can add more steps, just at least do the 3 basics.

2. You Are Using Too Many Products

When it comes to treating acne, less is more. You do not need a super complicated 20 step skincare routine to get clear skin! At the bare minimum, you only need three steps: cleanser, treatment and moisturizer. You can definitely add other products into your routine, just don’t go overboard!

When you have tons of different products in your routine, your skin can get easily irritated from all of the different ingredients. This irritation can lead to more acne formation.

Plus, if you are using multiple products to treat acne, chances are they all have a different active ingredient. This means that you are using way too many drying ingredients for your skin!

Keep it simple, I recommend 5 or 6 steps max.

3. You Are Over-washing Your Face

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Many people think that if they have acne, then they must keep it clean to prevent acne. This is not true. It can actually do the opposite! If you are washing your face too often, you will be stripping your skin of it’s natural oils. This leads to an overproduction of oil, which then gets trapped in your pores and leads to acne.

This is especially true if you use a drying cleanser with sulfates or active ingredients like salicylic acid.

Stick with a gentle cleanser and cleanse 2x a day maximum. I recommend most people only clean once a day and simply splash with water in the mornings.

4. You Are Scrubbing Too Much

A lot of people with acne also use a lot of scrubs to get their skin extra clean. While it is important to physically exfoliate your skin, the key is to do it gently. When you use harsh scrubs or over-exfoliate your skin, you can create little tears in the skin, which can lead to more acne because of the bacteria getting into your skin.

Switch to a gentler scrub, or use a microfiber washcloth.

5. You Aren’t Moisturizing Enough

Moisturizing is a crucial part of your skincare routine, and is the biggest factor in how healthy and clear your skin is. The truth is that your skin cannot be healthy without moisture!

Like I’ve mentioned before, when your skin is dry and dehydrated, it will overproduce oils that lead to acne. Many people think that they don’t need to moisturize their skin because it’s oily. In fact, if you moisturize your skin enough, chances are it will become LESS oily! Yes, really, it happened to me!

Make sure you are using a good moisturizer 2x a day.

6. Your Lifestyle Needs Improvement

If you’re always going to bed with your makeup on, drinking heavily, stressed out 24/7 and eating junk food all the time, chances are you will have a hard time clearing up your skin, no matter what!

A healthy lifestyle does impact our skin.

I’m not saying you have to give up pizza and wine forever, but a few lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. Try to just be healthier overall, and your skin will thank you.

7. You Aren’t Giving It Enough Time

When it comes to acne treatment, most people are impatient. They don’t realize it can take 3+ months to really see improvements in their skin. Acne treatments work at a slow pace but the wait is definitely worth it!

When you start using a new product, you need to give it at least 6 weeks to see minor improvements. Many times you won’t see the full results until 3 or 4 months down the line, maybe even longer. This is especially true of products with chemical exfoliants and retinol/tretinoin.

Just stick with it and be patient! I promise it will get better.

8. You’re Going Through The Purge

When you start an acne treatment with chemical exfoliants or retinols, your skin can go through what is called the purge. Those ingredients work by unclogging your pores and bringing all of the dirt, bacteria and skin cells up to the surface, leading to acne. This can happen anytime after you start a new acne treatment, but typically takes 3-4 weeks to begin.

During this time, your skin will seem like it’s not getting better and may actually seem like it’s getting worse! But, I promise, it’s not. The purge is a good thing because it means the product is working!

Give your skin time to adjust to the new product and get through the purge. Keep at it and you will have clear skin in no time!


It can be so frustrating when your skincare isn’t working and it seems like nothing is helping your acne. I’ve been there, too. Follow these tips and I promise you will get there! Be sure to check out my favorite acne products below.

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